The markets continued to digest the FOMC minutes from Wednesday, where the Federal Reserve left their policy rate unchanged for a sixth straight month. The Fed remained relatively hawkish on a December rate rise projecting an increase in interest rates this year. The FOMC stated that they “will wait for further evidence of continued progress to raise rates”. Risks from abroad and inconsistent signs of US economic performance contributed to the Fed’s decision to leave rates unchanged. The statement was slightly more hawkish than markets were expecting, however the Greenback weakened after the statement and throughout yesterday’s European session as ultimately rates were left on hold.
Yesterday’s economic docket was relatively light, however we saw the release of US Jobless Claims in the afternoon and ECB President Draghi addressed the markets late in the European session. Firstly, unemployment claims posted an improved reading of 252k, a five-month low. The bullish figure adds further evidence that the US labour market remains resilient.
Europe’s third-quarter growth picture will come into focus when the IHS Markit releases its flash Eurozone composite purchasing managers index, an economic-activity gauge for September. The European Central Bank may take note if it shows a slowdown from the already weak second quarter. Forecasters are looking for a slight fall to 52.8 from August’s final reading of 52.9, leaving the third-quarter average down from the previous three-month period.